An understanding of motivation is key for any teachers to be successful. We need either intuitively or explicitly to understand the factors that affect student success in our classrooms.
We also need to understand what motivates us, us teachers. We too are part of the classroom dynamic!
Here are some essential resources, readings, links, videos, essays that will help us teachers understand the powerful (and may I say magical?) elexir that is motivation.
Folder of motivation related research articles (covering a lot of the theory of motivation: attribution / expectancy / goal orientation / social )
Videos tagged "Motivation" - many good ones to show / discuss with students!
Have a thought about motivation or want to read what other teachers think? Visit our LinkedIn discussion on this topic.
The marshmallow test suggests that there is something to the notion of "self-control" and that students who succeed are those with strong self - control and discipline in studies (offset short term gains for long term). Angela Duckworth goes further and says it is all about long term self control or"grit". Fascinating research and concept in her article. Get your score also.
I believe we need to rethink both what we are preparing students for (the reasons they are learning English) and also how we prepare students to learn English. This rethink has to be along the lines of more learner autonomy (see the Nunan article above) and making what students study, purposeful - something that the learner feels is necessary and will be used by them in their life outside the classroom.
Here is Pink's classic ideas about motivation explained. How extrinsic motivation and rewards only work to motivate with very basic and direct tasks. Higher level achievement and tasks need intrinsic motivation - rewards actually demotivate. See his TED Talk in full.
Andrew Finch, a professor of TESOL in Korea, has always stressed and promoted the idea of a teacher as a motivational and psychological specialist.
His essay: Teachers: Who Needs Them is a great read and provides valuable insight into how crucial an educator's role is in regard to motivation. Also see this fine essay, outlining the research and possible types of motivation for L2 learners.
Nel Noddings is another educator who emphasizes the role of the teacher as "care giver" and that our role is in creating a classroom of relationships where we are motivated by the human aspect of caring. The teacher exhibits motivational displacement (the needs of the learner are primary and not his/her own).
Zoltan Dornyei is one of the leading researchers into the motivation of L2 learners. He's developed a theory of the L2 motivational self system. Taking a psychological approach, he posits that the L2 identity of the learner is crucial in motivation. We become what we imagine ...... if we imagine it, we'll become it.
David Nunan talks about motivating young learners but as he points out - most points hold true for all learners, young or old. He emphasizes how formal schooling demotivates all learners over time. He then gives some strategies to keep students motivated.
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Ken Wilson gives an engaging presentation on "Motivating The Unmotivated". As he outlines, it isn't really hard to motivate learners, especially your first few classes. The actual problem is how to sustain motivation, how to keep learners motivated on an ongoing basis. Jeremy talks about the 5 As: Activity / Agency / Affect Adaptation / Attitude /
How Children Fail is a must read for any teacher.
Holt outlines how school inculcates and breeds fear in students and much like Dweck posits, they begin to have a "fail" mindset and not a growth mindset. They believe (wrongly)that they can't achieve and that intelligence, success, ability, achievement are things we can't change and fixed. This damages them irreparably for their own lives.
Rick Lavoie is a genius and in his workshops about teaching the learning disabled, he highlights many of the shortcomings of how we teach ELLs. (and I insist that second language students ARE learning disabled, the second language brain lacks the processing power of the 1st - so we need to change how we teach and borrow principles of special educators).
See my post on Kenneth Dinklage and the students of Harvardwho despite their high intelligence, could not successfully learn languages.
See the whole workshop here....
Benny makes some great points indirectly about motivation, listing all the excuses and arguing - everyone can learn the language IF they relax, don't study the language but use it purposefully and immersively (unconsciously, indirectly).
A teacher's own expectations of and belief in their students' abilities is primary in the success of a class of students.
Read a simple but comprehensive study that showed empirically that teachers who thought their students were "poor" (even though they weren't), got poor results from students. Teachers who thought their students were "brillant" (even though they weren't) got excellent results from students.
Here are some other blog posts I've written detailing how important this is and too, that the teacher be passionate about their work, day in and day out.
Here is the pass the paper game we played as an ice breaker. Use it as a template and put in your own content, on any theme. Your students will relax and love the catchy song and interaction.
Also the two videos we viewed during my presentation on motivation.
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